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2 Thessalonians 3:9

ESV It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate.
NIV We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate.
NASB not because we do not have the right to this, but in order to offer ourselves as a role model for you, so that you would follow our example.
CSB It is not that we don't have the right to support, but we did it to make ourselves an example to you so that you would imitate us.
NLT We certainly had the right to ask you to feed us, but we wanted to give you an example to follow.
KJV Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.

What does 2 Thessalonians 3:9 mean?

Paul assures his readers that he and his missionary team had a right to accept financial help when he was in Thessalonica, but they chose to work hard to support themselves in order to set an example for the believers to follow.

In his letter to the Philippians he thanked his readers for supporting his ministry. He wrote in Philippians 4:16–17: "Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit." In his first letter to Timothy he instructed, "Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, 'You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain.' And 'The laborer deserves his wages'" (1 Timothy 5:17–18). Further, in Galatians 6:6, Paul exhorts those who are taught the Word to share all good things with their teacher.
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